The Influence of Edmund Taylor Whittaker as Mathematician and Teacher

Maidment, Alison (2024). The Influence of Edmund Taylor Whittaker as Mathematician and Teacher. PhD thesis The Open University.



Edmund Taylor Whittaker (1873–1956) was one of Britain’s most prominent 20th century mathematicians, renowned for his vast knowledge and diverse research interests. His professional career spanned five decades and encompassed appointments in three cities: Cambridge as a young Fellow, Dublin as the Astronomer Royal of Ireland and Trinity College’s Andrews Professor of astronomy, and finally Edinburgh as the University’s Professor of Mathematics.

Whittaker wrote 115 research papers, including 58 in mathematics, and 12 books (of which 9 were mathematical). He held visiting lectureships, and served as President in leading positions in learned societies. Among his notable achievements were his solution of Laplace’s equation in three dimensions, the institution of Britain’s first ‘Mathematical Laboratory’, and his books, Modern Analysis (1902), Analytical Dynamics (1904) and A History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity (1910).

Contemporary scholarship has shed light on certain aspects of Whittaker’s career, but a comprehensive investigation into his role in the development of mathematics has not previously been undertaken. The primary objective of this thesis is to address this by conducting a thorough examination into Whittaker’s legacy, evaluating archival material and utilizing contemporary knowledge.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions